It is a joy to welcome Melanie Ingle-Myers to our Restore Monday Musings blog this week. Melanie is a gifted artist and singer who uses her love for the Lord and chalk art to minister around the country at retreats and conferences. Her life is full and busy as she juggles her ministry and time as a devoted wife and mom. She is also Sherry’s cousin! Years ago when we began our blog for Restore Ministries we chose the title Monday Musings. Musings is defined as a period of reflection, thought or contemplation. Our vision is to provide a blog that offers you devotional thoughts, a slowing down to breathe and consider how the Lord may be speaking or working in your life. Melanie attended our Restore Retreat at Solomon Episcopal Conference Center a few weeks ago and shares some of her lovely photographs and insights today about her weekend to pull away and rest from the stress and pressures of life.
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Weary...was my traveling companion, while returning I was accompanied by relaxation. Stress had been my baggage, now peace and poise settles in my soul. My mind constantly preoccupied is now somewhat composed and restful. I needed a special time with God to quiet my spirit and hear Him speak. The Restore Ministries retreat in Loranger, Louisiana hosted by Kathy Drake and Sherry Barron proved to be a phenomenal avenue to de-stress.
God prepared the way for me to attend this ladies retreat while also preparing me to receive from Him His peace that only He gives. I once heard that we rev up and rev up daily all the while needing time to experience quietness and stillness in the presence of God. I believe this statement is from Jennifer Rothschild, "You are not what you struggle with, you are not what you think you are, you are not what others think you are - you are who God made you to be. It takes spiritual muscle and intentions." God knew I needed Him to grant me the spiritual muscle to be attentive and intentional on this special weekend.
The accommodations were set in a most tranquil scene. The grounds immaculate, a clear lake to sit and repose and truly an atmosphere of bliss.
Solitude it was not! It was more than being alone. I had chosen with God's intervention to be separated from outside distractions. Getting alone was even more than praying, praising and Bible study. It was aloneness with God. God releasing my anxiety and muddled mind. I have always known God desires a relationship with me as His bride so He can relate to me and reveal His love.
The theme for this extraordinary weekend was "Awaken to the Pursuit of the Bridegroom. Sherry and Kathy spoke with such eloquence of speech but more importantly their content was relevant. There was a pleasant reverent ambiance in the room that was awe-inspiring. This atmosphere attributed to the tranquility and harmony we all seemed to experience each day.
I can't seem to move beyond the thought of one of the ancient Jewish wedding traditions. The bride to be and bridesmaids were to keep by their bed side a lamp and oil ready for when the bridegroom returned after preparing a place for his bride. In Matthew 25:1-13 we read the parable of the ten virgins - five wise equipped with their oil and five foolish having lamps with no oil. The foolish who were well instructed neglected to be prepared to meet the bridegroom. Thinking they could borrow oil, "light." In John Pipers words an "outward form of religion and no internal power." We as the Bride of Christ should be anticipating his coming and spiritually prepared for His return. A quote from the weekend, "Faith and obedience can't be borrowed, we have to have our own faith and obedience."
Surprisingly when I returned home, two of my chalk drawings and speeches were on "the light" which the two different churches had suggested. Now, I find it not so surprising that the "lamps" made such a lasting impression. When I allowed God to begin to repair the damage stress had caused He brought about the quietness in my spirit and the realization that to give to others by sharing His love I had to be restored and renewed in order for my light to shine brightly for Him. My lamp filled with the oil of His spirit to meet Him and be a servant for Him.
I must admit I am still a work in progress but I have the promise of God's word that He is always with me, never forsaking me in my weakness always pursuing me and always desiring my worship and praise and aloneness with Him. Only God renews, restores and revives!
It is because Jesus, the Lamb of God chose to die on the cross for our sins and three days later rose from the dead that we can live expectant in the hope of spending eternity with Him. One day Christ, in all His glory as the Lamb of God will come to gather up His church, His beloved Bride, perfected and pure. On that day we will join in the celebration of the marriage supper of the Lamb in a feast of His love! There in heaven we will worship and reign with Christ, clothed in His righteousness. While we wait for that glorious day, God has called you as His bride to live faithful, pure and holy lives, a reflection to the world of His glory. This passion week take some time to reflect on Christ's sacrifice on the cross and His purpose for you to shine His light brightly in the desperate world in which we live. We serve a risen Savior. The power of the resurrected life dwells within all believers by His Holy Spirit. Jesus is calling His church to rise up with the conviction of a bride who has an unquenchable love for her Bridegroom; committed, covered and conquering by the power of His Spirit.
Take some time to ponder these questions today:
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. Revelation 5:12-14
Praying you draw near to our risen Savior this Easter,
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